Any tips for someone making chili for the first time?
beef chili: you want darker, richer flavors, if you ask me. this is where i particularly like adding extra spice if i want to get spicy, too. some recommended things you can throw in here: cumin, garlic, onion, paprika (smoked or otherwise), chili powder, cayenne. dark baking chocolate or cocoa powder. beer (DARK beer). i’ve also used kahlua, to great effect. i like using chipotle powder or chipotle peppers if i wanna hit it with some actually hot spice, but i’ll also use nando’s peri peri sauce to get some kick.
this is also where you can include some bacon, but i don’t believe in going overboard with it or making it the center flavor. something you want to consider with how it interacts with all the other flavors.
pork/chicken chili: this is where i like focusing on fruitier flavors. a lot of the same basic spices apply, but ignore the beer and chocolate advice and go for the fruits. a tangerine/pineapple mix of juices here produces quite the effect, i m o. having lime juice on hand is also a must, and will figure into a surprising amount of cooking and adding flavor to things once you start using it. if i do want to work alcohol into pork or chicken chili, i’ll generally use tequila and make a tequila lime chili. a lot of citrus fruits work out well here - lime, lemon, and so on. i also rec getting some different kind of oranges from your supermarket and getting the juice out of them. a Cara Cara orange, for example, has raspberry and cherry undertones, which allows you to work those kind of flavors into your chili without having to deal with the trouble of using those fruits themselves. peaches also are great here, as are mangoes.
i’ve also tossed in some andouille sausage in together with a pork chili. worked out great.
oh, and of course, you’re going to want your damn basics of salt and all. keep those suckers aroun.
nowadays, i do all my chili cooking in a dutch oven on a stove top, which, on my oven, i set to about four - whatever that means - to heat the dutch oven. once pre-heated some, i take the ground meat, toss it in, and break it up best as i can. while that’s just starting to cook, i season the meat with all the spices i’ve already selected, and make sure they all get a decent coating. i don’t use any specific measurements, i just get a general feel for how much of what spice i should use. takes some time to be able to just wing it, though. and i break the meat up, stir it around, make sure everything’s cooked, until all of it is browned.
once it is browned, that’s when i add the other stuff - tomatoes, beans, peppers, and other fixin’s. what i like to do now is get a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of diced petite tomatoes and dump those in, but also a good strategy a lot of people overlook is getting just a good can of salsa and dumping that all over the meat. hell, looking at jars of salsa helped me really crystallize some ideas of flavors for chili. i’ll also add extra spice or juice here if i think it needs it to soak into the tomato mix, like lime juice and such. or you know, just get some good ol’ cilantro in there. you mix in your beans if you want some beans (i personally like a black and red bean mix), and then whatever else you feel like tossing in. cut up bell peppers, jalapenos, diced chiles, or other, hotter peppers, this is when i start tossing ‘em in. you can get all kinds of things flowing in here, though, like roasted corn, or crushed up tortilla chips. add cut up onion, garlic (i tend to use garlic and onion powder when seasoning the meat itself), just, you know, think about what works in conjunction with all the other flavors you’ve got going on. like i said, i used andouille sausage with a pork chili and that came out great. you can experiment.
i let that allll cook up until the mixture starts to boil. then i turn it back down to low, pop the lid on it, and let that go for about… forty minutes. serve with whatever side you feel like, say, chips, or fries, for dipping.